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Enforcing your trademark rights

womenboxingman28724766.jpgOnce you have registered your trademark you are going to want to make sure that you enforce your trademark rights. This is important so that your business name is protected. If you protect your business name then nobody else is going to be able to use it. This also means that your competitors will not be able to have a name that is similar to yours, so your customers cannot get your business confused with your competitors.

If you plan on enforcing your trademark rights as a business owner you need to be aware of when you can stop others from using your trademark. You will also need to know when you can stop people from using a similar trademark to yours that is designed to confuse your customers. Here are the different situations that will allow you to stop people from using your trademark or one that are very similar to yours.

  • If the trademark is being used in the same part of the country as yours or if the trademark is being used on goods that are related to your type of business. This last part is especially important if the goods that are using the trademark are going to be noticed by your customers, even if the company selling them is not one of your competitors.

  • When people are going to be confused by somebody using your trademark or one that is similar to yours. If your customers look at the trademark that is similar to yours you will want to prevent people from using it because they are hoping to get your customers to switch over to their business instead of using yours.

  • If your trademark is being used on competing goods or services you will want to stop people from using your trademark. To know if it is being used on competing goods or services you need to ask yourself if the items being sold are going to affect your item being sold. If they are going to affect the sale put a stop to them using your trademark as soon as possible.

If somebody else is using your trademark one option that you have is to go to court to prevent your trademark form being used. This is usually seen when the use of your trademark is going to be diluted by somebody else from using it, this is usually the case when you have a famous trademark. This process is called dilution and it can lead to your trademark becoming common because it is overused in a variety of contexts. For example, Xerox used to be a trademark name, but people began using it as a verb, which diluted the use of the word. The one thing you want to be aware of with dilution statutes is that they even apply in cases where people are not going to confuse your products with the products of the owner of a trademark. For example, a company that is selling chips under the name Charmin will not be confused with the Charmin toilet paper. Even though this might be true, the trademark dilution statues still apply in federal court.

Before you go to court to protect your trademark you will want to make sure that you are actively using your trademark. This is important because in order to stop other companies from using your trademark your business needs to be actively using the trademark. To actively use your trademark you will want to put it to work in the marketplace by using it to identify any products or services that your business is offering.

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